Friday, 9 August 2013

Fantasy and 40k: The Movement Phase

It is undeniable that 40k and Fantasy's movement phases share certain aspects yet are also different enough from one and other to be called separate rules sets. 40k's movement system can be called stream lined where as fantasy's system is a more tactically minded one. As the movement phase is more than just movement this post will look at the Movement Mechanics of each system and how terrain effects movement in both systems.

Movement Mechanics

In 40k the majority of models move 6 inches in the movement phase, with exceptions being calvary,  jetbikes, jump infantry, beasts and bikes (who all move 12 inches) ,and vehicles (whose movement is based on the type of vehicle). In terms of the direction a squad can move the player simply turns the squad in the direction they wish to move and then moves the squad.

Terrain Effects
In terms of the effects of terrain on movement in 40k open ground has no effect on movement. Impassable terrain cannot be moved through. Lethal terrain cannot be moved through in addition any model that touches lethal terrain dies instantly with no saves of any kind allowed. Difficult can be moved through however any squad or model that wishes to move through difficult terrain must roll 2D6 and pick the highest as their movement value. Dangerous terrain works exactly like difficult, in addition each model that passes through dangerous terrain must roll a dice, and on a roll of 1 that model suffers a wound with armour and invulnerable saves allowed (referred to as a Dangerous terrain test) . 

Different model types are effected differently by terrain, for example Calvary ignore the movement reducing effects of difficult and dangerous terrain but must take a dangerous terrain test when moving through difficult and dangerous terrain.

  • The 40k movement system is by far less complex than the fantasy, allowing for a quick and fast movement phase.
  • Terrain rules are simple and straight forward.
  •  With every model (regardless of race) moving a set distance the 40k movement      phase is streamlined and straight forward.
  • The more difficult tactical maneuvers of Fantasy don't work in 40k due to the fact that there is no penalty for turning your squad to face a new direction, and that the squad formation in 40k is very loose compared to the tight unit formation of Fantasy.
  • With Charge moves being moved to the assault phase, and having the option to “Run” models in the shooting phase there is movement going on in every game turn, and given that newer armies take advantage of this it can leave the older armies at a severe disadvantage.
  •  Lethal terrain, if not properly defined, can cause arguments during game given the extreme effects it has on models that enter it.


Movement Mechanics

In Fantasy every model has a individual movement characteristic, a model can make a normal move up to the maximum value of that movement characteristic or can march, in which case they can move up to double that movement characteristic, however you cannot march if you are within 8 of an enemy unit or model unless you pass a leadership test first. The Fantasy movement phase is very structured and each movement phase is broken down into various steps that must be followed in a particular order, those steps are as follows:

1)Declare charges. The player declares which units will be charging who, and then resolves each individual charge before moving onto the next unit. 

2)Resolve Charges. The individual charges are resolved, with the unit being charged either standing and holding (standard charge reaction where the unit braces for the charge, has no additional effect), Standing and shooting (a optional reaction for a unit with ranged weapons, the unit can make a shooting attack, at -1 to hit, before the charge hits) or Fleeing (the unit runs directly away from the charging unit 2d6, unless the charging unit can redirect the charge, a leadership test, it counts as a failed charge), after the reaction has been resolved each charging unit moves 2d6 plus the movement characteristic of the unit.

3)Compulsory moves. Any unit that has to make a non-voluntary movement does so now, after charges but before remaining moves. Also any fleeing units can try to rally.

4)Remaining Moves. Any unit that has not moved yet, either  as a charge or compulsory move, can do so now. 

Moves like pivoting and turning count towards moving the total distance a unit can move, for example a unit of Wood Elf Glade Guard turns to the left of its current position (which say takes 3 inches) it can them move 7 inches forward.

Terrain Effects

Terrain has been simplified in Fantasy, there are 3 types of terrain:

1):Open Ground. Open ground has no effect on unit movement

2):Dangerous terrain. Like 40k and model that moves through difficult terrain must pass a 
dangerous terrain test or suffer a wound without armour saves.

3):Impassable terrain. Impassable terrain cannot be crossed.


  • The Fantasy movement system allows for tactical maneuvers and sneaky movement tricks
  • Each army has a base movement value that compliments its play style making for a more unique feel per army

  • As the terrain system is fairly simple less time is spent debating whether a forest is difficult or dangerous terrain. 

In this selection of images we see how a wood elf player Maneuvers in between the two units of zombies to prevent them from charging the unit.

Please note that the wood elf player deserves to have dice thrown at him for playing this trick


  • The Fantasy movement phase takes far longer as it is more complex than 40k
  • Due to how models are placed in their unit arguments can easily begin about how many models in a unit should take Dangerous terrain tests.


The movement phases of Fantasy and 40k echo their deployment phases in that 40k is streamlined, allowing for a fast movement phase, and Fantasy is complex, allowing for more tactical moves. While a streamlined system is good it removes a fair bit of tactics from the 40k movement phase in order to be as streamlined as it is. And while there is a certain amount of boundless glee to be gained from pulling off a tricksy fantasy maneuver newer and inexperienced may be put off doing some of the more cunning tricks due to the many rules that surround the Fantasy movement phase.

Hopefully you have enjoyed part 2 of the Fantasy and 40k series, at some point in the future part 3 will be published which will look at the Fantasy magic phase and 40k psychic powers.

Until next time.



  1. "With Charge moves being moved to the assault phase, and having the option to “Run” models in the shooting phase there is movement going on in every game turn, and given that newer armies take advantage of this it can leave the older armies at a severe disadvantage."

    the latter of that point i would argue as incorrect. eldar have an advantage not because they are new, but because of their fluff. Eldar have always had a speed advantage but didnt retain it with rules changes over time but have rightfully been out back. i'd argue that no matter the edition its not an advantage or disadvantage at all. Just a more easily understood codex tends be a newer one because they are written for current rules. Also to point out that 40k is a war of mobility so it would be ridiculous for small units of men to have to reduce movement to turn or pivot.

    although 40k is streamlined a simple error can put you out of cover and leave a squad in pieces. cover being a vital point missed in the argument because 40k is based on cover entirely. no cover means you will usually die. so planning where your movement based on the enemy positions is vital along with predicting enemy movements at the same time.

    Although at the club its generally not considered but structures play a huge part in 40k movement, occupying them etc etc. so wither terrain is something you will consider later or now but this is an aspect which also determines survivability in the following phases.

    Also the way cover can be used throughout each phase is a big thing for example jet units moving out of cover shooting than jumping back into cover. Flyers is another element unexplored in the movement analysis along with vehicles and their role on how the 40k turn is different.

    overall i think terrain is what makes 40k movement so much different to that of fantasy simply because its about keeping yourself safe whilst keeping their models at their least safest (worded badly :P)

  2. The argument from fluff (its in the eldar lore therefore the rule is justified) is weak. If i were to become a black library author (lets just imagine) i could write a story were space marine give birth to space marines and that would be considered cannon by GW. Then i could write a space marine rule that doubles their squads size every 3 turns and because its in they fluff that makes it justified.

    That is why the argument from fluff is so weak because the fluff is pants on head crazy

  3. nut the codex isnt just fluff, you miss the bit about balance. so although its fluffy its balanced. Another way to look at it is not fluff but theme. would you play as your race if it was exactly the same as all the others? no. there is nothing wrong with fluff based rules and it dosnt make the game unfair. I didnt hear you say how unfair it was how your wolves could act normally after retreating for example :P.

    Its still balanced and newer codices doesnt mean better, each codex works fine. fluff ties into all of them from individual rules to weaponry and numbers however armies are never bad.

    a whole codex and army book is solely based on fluff so all the rules are justified because of fluff. also black library writers very, very frequently change the fluff in their books.

    also your example is wrong simply because we arent talking custom rules we are talking games workshop rules who as i said before make rules fluffy and balanced.

    i really dont see how its weak to say it suits the fluff. Fluff restricts races and they never let fluff ruin the balance of a game.

  4. excuse my spelling errors :P didn't realise i cannot edit my posts so bear with me

  5. There is a black library author, called C.S Gotto, who has Khornate Sorcerers, Back Flipping terminators, and multi-lasers attached to carnifixes. Now because GW declared everything published by the Black Library to be cannon but not necessarily true i can, using the argument from fluff, have back flipping terminators, Khornate sorcerers and multi-laser carnifixes because all that is cannon.

    Like i said the argument from fluff falls apart because the fluff is pants on head crazy

  6. no because like i said we are talking official rules, not your made up rules....

  7. talking about official rules there is nothing wrong with fluff based rules at all

  8. What i am saying is you cant justify rules using fluff because the fluff is crazy. Space marines should be able to spit acid as a shooting attack according to fluff.

  9. no they wear helmets.... and like i said they still need to keep the balance.

  10. so the fluff rules arent ridiculous at all.

  11. No you are misunderstanding me, what i am saying is that trying to justify s rule like say battle focus by using fluff fails because the fluff is so crazy and can be made to say whatever the person who is writing they fluff wants it to say.

  12. That is exactly what Warhammer is, a set of rules written to suit the fluff. no rule doesnt fit the fluff, its all entirely fluff base. Why do they get battle focus? Because of the fluff, why do Spacemarines have Bolters? Because of the fluff, why can i play as dark Eldar? Because of the fluff.

    So your saying the game is a failure and weak because it was made by using fluff then i think you are very wrong lol. That is what it seems like you are trying to say....

  13. 'the fluff is so crazy and can be made to say whatever the person who is writing they fluff wants it to say.'

    Exactly what Games workshop does...

  14. The debate was resolved off the forum :P